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It is time to lighten our ship

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Fri, Sept. 02, 2011

Editor: No one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines can say that conditions in our country are satisfactory. Despite the fact that our children are doing quite well in their examinations, the country does not have the necessary strong base on which to build the hope, that the general well being of the citizens will see appreciable improvement, within the short term.{{more}}

On the contrary, the policies and the modus operandi which the Gonsalves led ULP administration has been pursuing, over the last nine to ten years, seem now to be bearing the fruits which are defining them as failures and inimical to the interests of the people.

Our agriculture and the spirit of our farming community have never been at such a low level before. It cannot be forgotten that somewhere in the late 1960’s, perhaps, banana prices to the farmers were as low as three cents per pound, and though some farmers initially lost enthusiasm and felt discouraged, because of the structure and support system afforded by the Banana Growers Association (St. Vincent) and the regional Windward Island Banana Association, the banana trade survived and prospered.

Today, the Banana Industry is suffering from what the farmers interpret as blatant ineptitude, on the part of those charged with the management of the industry. As a result, the industry is plagued by abnormal levels of the diseases, MOKO and LEAF SPOT, which have wreaked havoc on our banana fields and crippled our farmers’ incomes. It must be noted that these diseases are well known to us and did not spring up on us overnight, but we have clearly not been as vigilant and proactive as we ought to be, considering the many decades of our experience in banana production, on a large scale. Our technocrats have let us down badly.

The poor quality of our roads is also a significant factor which will limit our ability to re-stimulate our agriculture in the short term, and one would have expected that our relevant technocrats would have been strong enough to make that point. The technocrats of the day seem to have established that their raison d’etre is the showering of the politicians with accolades. The governing politicians seem to be in the meantime satisfied with their media performances in spewing empty rhetoric, while the economy is headed for the reef.

The time has come where it is the duty of the citizen to endeavor to influence the direction of our country when it is so clear that our present course will undoubtedly lead to a calamitous end. Some of us may even have the misfortune to be alive to reap the rewards for our present silence. How will we cope, then?

An issue that is crying out for redress is the reckless expenditure of our scarce resources on items which realize little benefit to the country. For example, the paying out of significant sums to party chronies who are seemingly producing little, if any at all, is a demonstration of callous insensitivity to the agonizing realities, burdening our poor citizens.

My thoughts are with Mr. Vincent Beache, Mr. Louis Straker, Dr. Douglas Slater, Dr. Jerrol Thompson and others of the category who have held comparatively profitable positions with the state for many years and are now eligible for pensions etc. They should not now continue to represent an unnecessary burden on our crippled economy.

One may not be a scholar of Economics, but when one hears that our government has been owing local business houses over thirty million dollars for extended periods, resulting in those businesses laying off staff, when one hears of people, poor people, not being paid their wages for months, after working with the government, when we hear of staff at “BRAGSA” being laid off, at a time in the hurricane season when the demand/need for their services is high; when there are genuine complaints of the shortages in medical supplies at our clinics and hospitals; when one hears of the curtailment of flights out from or in to the ET Joshua Airport because of inadequate lighting; when one sees that the drain across the entrance to the Belair Health Centre cannot be repaired for several years, then one must conclude that our economy is crippled.

So, if I were Messers Beache, Straker, Slater, Thompson, Belmar, Snagg and others of that category, I would resign immediately, so that those valuable resources could be channeled to the addressing of some of those areas crying out for attention in the interest of the poorer citizens of the state.

Gentlemen, there may be no better way to make it easier for the P.M at this time. Please resign now!

Leroy Providence

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